OKADA MANILA is projecting a strong finish in 2022 on the back of increased visitor count, according to the management that recently regained control of the integrated casino-resort complex.

Byron Yip, Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) president, said during a media briefing in Parañaque City on Wednesday that Okada Manila recorded higher foot traffic in the nine months to September.

TRLEI is the firm that operates Okada Manila and is a unit of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL).

“Compared to the same time last year, there’s then been over 300% improvement (in foot traffic), and now we happen to have an average of over 300,000 visitors on a monthly basis,” Mr. Yip said.

“We at Okada Manila are seeing green shoots of recovery from when the pandemic struck the Philippines in 2020. Through the collaboration of our employees and leaders, Okada Manila was able to record more than two-folds growth in our monthly foot traffic,” he added.

Further, Mr. Yip said that more brands and retailers are set to open in Okada Manila.

“Our retail selection has also increased. We have 14 new brands joining us this year and 16 incoming brands, in addition to the already 29 brands that are here. We can expect more stores and restaurants to open soon,” Mr. Yip said.

Mr. Yip added that Okada Manila is banking on the return of more sectors to boost the casino-resort’s performance in the remaining months of 2022.

“With the revitalization of the travel, hospitality, gaming, and entertainment sectors we are optimistic that we will continue to ride on a growth momentum and end 2022 on a positive note,” Mr. Yip said.

“It is our goal to be the premier integrated resort not just in the Philippines, but in Asia. We’re looking forward to working with all our stakeholders towards a stronger end-of-year as we welcome 2023,” he added.

In a separate interview, TRLEI Chief Financial Officer Hans Van Der Sande said that Okada Manila is also banking on the holiday season to boost the resort’s occupancy rate.

“November, December, and January are always the best months. As you get towards the real Christmas period, people start taking longer vacations,” he said. “Absent of a new COVID-19 variant, I think this will be a great year.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Der Sande said that the planned merger between UE Resorts International, Inc. and US special purpose acquisition firm 26 Capital Acquisition Corp. has been extended by a year. The deadline of the merger was supposed to be Sept. 30, making Okada Manila public. TRAL, which controls Okada Manila, is a unit of UE Resorts.

“We agreed to a year-long extension to give time to update all information. The process is very complex and takes a long time,” Mr. Der Sande said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave